North Carolina just lost to NC State for the first time in nearly three years. It hurts. It’s never easy to lose to a rival in your own building. It’s even harder when it comes in overtime and there were multiple chances to win.
The Wolfpack shot unbelievably well from the outside; hitting 15 of their 30 three point attempts. The Tar Heels...well..didn’t. They hit but a quarter of that, going 4-20 from outside.
If it wasn’t for big games from Theo Pinson and Luke Maye, the game may have been even worse than a four-point overtime loss. Both finishing with double-doubles, they combined for 53 of North Carolina’s 91 points on 22-39 shooting and grabbed 27 of their 48 rebounds.
Pinson got the Tar Heels started off early with a dunk on the opening possession. Throughout the game, Pinson seemed to be the spark needed when North Carolina. In the 2nd Half, the Tar Heels found themselves up 51-50 and needing a run. On back-to-back possessions, Pinson found his way to the goal, scoring on both to give the Heels a five-point lead.
Pinson finished the game with 22 points on 10-16 shooting and 15 rebounds in 36 minutes of action. This is his third career double-double, the last one coming in the win against Georgia Tech. His 15 rebounds are a career high.
Luke scored a lot, but it wasn’t in the flashy way that Pinson scored. Luke did the small things right. He spaced the floor well and got to the rim for putback opportunities. Maye also hit three of North Carolina’s four three pointers, none bigger than a long bomb that pulled the Tar Heels within one-point about halfway through the overtime period. In all, Maye scored 31 points on 12-23 shooting and corralled 12 rebounds.
Listen, don’t panic. Remove your finger from the red button!!
This is probably not a national championship season, but one of growth. That doesn’t mean we write off this season. There’s still A LOT of basketball left to play. The ACC title may be out of reach, but this team hasn’t peaked yet. They can still do some damage within the toughest league in Division I basketball. If a loss to Wofford or Virginia Tech didn’t wake this team up, I’m sure an overtime home loss to a bitter rival should be the punch-in-the-gut that they need. We, as Carolina fans, are so used to perpetual success that a 16-6 team feels like a failure. Don’t give up on them just yet.